(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 14, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – Heather Cobb and Heather Johnson-Bonds of Hazel Park shared smiles, French fries and sliders with their kids Jasmine and Earl for Valentine’s Day.
But this was not just a normal visit to the Ferndale White Castle (just north of 8 Mile on Woodward). This was a one-day-a-year, candle-lit with cute table cloths, centerpieces and candies, full-service dining experience.
Since 1991 people have flocked to the normally fancy-free fast food place to be treated like kings and queens of the Castle. The lovely pair of Heathers stared starry-eyed across their decorated booth while their teen-aged kids took selfies and giggled over the heart-shaped balloons and Valentine’s place mats.
The couple met in high school. “We lived on the same street in Southfield,” said Johnson-Bonds. “White Castle was one of the places we’d go to hang out. We still love it.”
“We saw this on the news last year and figured we would come now, instead of 3am,” Cobb joked.
After nearly 20 years together and raising two kids, the couple knows that the secret ingredient of love can sometimes come in the form of “a perfect little burger with grilled onions,” as Johnson-Bonds called it.
In a nearby booth sat a Ferndale couple eager for the second most romantic kind of ring one could buy on a holiday such as this – the delectable chicken ring.
Dora and Roger Long said they planned on heading to the Bosco and to Twisted Taven afterward, but could not imagine starting their Valentine’s night out anywhere else. They’ve come off and on for years, but last year they transgressed and went to a fancy restaurant instead.
“It just wasn’t the same. The food was nice. The service was nice. And there were all the people around. But we thought, eh, we can do this any night. What they do here is so fun and out of character. It’s quirky and you can only do it one night a year,” Roger said.
“I’m lucky she puts up with me,” Roger said. “I’ll come home on a Thursday and say, ‘okay honey, let’s go camping,’ and she’s right there with me.”
“We’ll run around the house getting packed up, forgetting things. But it doesn’t matter, we just go,” Dora added.
Compromise is also just as important in a relationship, they said. “She’s just as stubborn as I am. When it comes down to it we end up compromising.” Thankfully their Valentine’s Day dinner choice was something they easily agreed on.
“I can’t believe we’re at White Castle for Valentine’s Day,” Gary said with a grin that would just not quit. “Look at this place. This is great.”
They also are coming up on their 20 year anniversary, and this is their first time having such a unique Feb. 14th feast. When asked what made their love last so long,” Natalie said “Trust and communication. You just need to talk. And mostly you need to have a sense of humor.”
Gary agreed. The couple met through Gary’s brother, and he had resisted at first. “She was persistent though,” he teased. “But really, she has a good heart and she’s a good people person. She’s got a great sense of humor, which I guess is why we’re here.”
For those who missed this lovely tradition, it happens again in a year. Just don’t forget to make your reservations.
To learn more about White Castles, check out their website at https://www.whitecastle.com/.